to the bullied

I was never well liked growing up. I was bullied a lot. I was tortured. At the ripe age of 5 I was handcuffed to a merry-go-round by one of the neighborhood kids and spun around, hair dragging in the dirt and left there. When I was in fourth grade, my thyroid went out on me and I gained a lot of weight. I was bullied for being fat. In eighth grade, when I made the cheer squad, someone spread a nasty rumor that I was a lesbian and was only doing it so I could touch other girls. In high school, I was oinked at in the hallways.
I’d like to tell you that I was graceful about it all. I wish I could tell you I didn’t let that change me. I wish I could tell you that I didn’t cry all the time. I wish I could tell you I laughed about it later.
I was an outcast. I always have been. I come on too strong, I cling to friends when I find them. I annoy others quite often. I have people that I didn’t treat very well and who still hate me to this day.
But, I can say now, I am a child of God. You can call me all the mean things, you can leave me out. You can bully me, talk about me behind my back, you can mistreat me. I do not care anymore. I am a child of God.
He has fixed my broken soul. He has wiped the tears from eyes. He has filled me with joy in tomorrow. He has fixed me. And some day, He will turn all of this suffering into praise. Don’t get me wrong, I still have feelings. And they still get hurt. But I don’t let them change me anymore. I don’t let me mold me. My mold comes from God. My mold is now a Christ-like mold. And I’m doing my best to fit into that. I’m doing my best.

An Open Letter to America

Dear America,

Young and old, baby boomers, gen x’s, millennials, and homeland’s. This one is for you.

I have had it with where our society is at today. It’s growing evermore frustrating with social media, everyone’s opinions and everyone’s feelings. As we are nearing election time, I feel like this needs to be said.

I, myself, am a millennial. I know, *hiss hiss* at me. I was raised by baby boomers. I was raised in a Christian household. I was raised by republicans. I was raised in the midwest. I was raised by parents who never have been, and continue to not be divorced. I am a middle child. I am not a college graduate.

Something, in that paragraph has already turned you off. Something in that paragraph gives you a reason to dismiss whatever I am going to say before I have even said it. Something in that paragraph gives you ammo to try to make me change my mind because I am wrong. I am young, I am in the bible belt. I am Christian. I am republican. I haven’t experienced life. I think everyone is out to get me. I am not educated. So, now that I’ve used everything that you have against me, listen to me. If you choose not to agree, that’s fine. If you choose to try to attack me, that’s fine too. I have pretty tough skin. And I can handle it.

In society, we are offended by everything. We are offended at big ticket issues. And we are offended by not so big ticket issues. We find it easy to hide behind computer screens and phone screens and attack others. We find it easy to bash others because they don’t agree with us. We find it easy to not take responsibility for our words and our actions. We blame it on others, society, social media, past and present and future presidents. We blame it on everyone else but ourselves. I too find it easy to pass off what I’m saying or how I feel because I’m a millennial. I find myself typing away *ahem* to prove a point, or to ‘correct’ someone.

It is NOT okay to bully someone because they think different than you.
It is NOT okay to bully someone because they disagree with you.
It is NOT okay to spread hate.
It is NOT okay to generalize groups and say that they all believe this way or another because of one person.
It is NOT okay to dismiss what someone says because they are a different race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

It is NOT okay to let others let you feel bullied.
It is NOT okay to allow your feelings get the best of you.
It is NOT okay to let other people determine WHO YOU ARE because you aren’t strong enough to stand up for yourself.
It is NOT okay to get on social media and bash groups.
It is NOT OKAY to feel OFFENDED because you DON’T AGREE.

I have been bullied most of my life. I have been called every name in the book. I have also bullied others. I have also called someone every name in the book. I have led a sinful life. I have led a spiritual life. I don’t claim to know everything because I don’t. I don’t claim to be right, because most of the time, I’m not. But I have survived. I refuse to shut down. I refuse to hide. I refuse to apologize for things I believe. I refuse to apologize for my morals. I refuse to apologize for who I am.

You believe what you believe. I believe what I believe. And that’s all there is to it. I most likely can’t change your mind. And you definitely can’t change mine.

So America, let’s agree to something. Let’s stop spreading hate. Let’s stop being offended. Let’s stop contradicting ourselves. Let’s start appreciating each other’s differences. Let’s start being one nation. Let’s start being united.

Hello? Are you there God?

It’s me, Erica.

So, calling it quits? Guess not. Why? Well… Here we go.

Basically, I have a lot on my plate. I found myself trying to decide to a journal today or do I write a post today? And, I kept choosing journaling. I didn’t have the heart for this, I didn’t have the energy for this. I wasn’t feeling inspired to write an entire blog post. So I prayed, and prayed and prayed. And I *thought* God was telling me to put this on the back burner for a while. That was a lie. The king of lies, deceived me.

For more than a couple months, I’ve been looking for someone to disciple. I’ve been called to disciple someone. I want to be someone’s Paul. I want someone to be my Timothy. A couple funny things about this. One, I have someone to disciple in my own home. My husband. -That’s an entirely different post. So stay tuned.- Two, lately, I’ve had an outpouring of questions: “Why did you quit your blog?” “You have such a talent. Why would you quit?” “You can reach so many people.” So let’s answer those real quick. I quit because I didn’t have time. I have a 9 month old who is crawling and getting into everything. And I would prefer if he didn’t remember his mom behind a computer screen constantly. I have such talent? No, thank you, but no. God has talent and He’s using me. Everything I say is from God. Reaching so many people? Not necessarily. I have this small corner of the internet. I have friends and such. But I never want people to feel like I’m preaching. Because I’m not.

So, now that’s been discussed…

I was laying in bed last night, praying. Slowly drifting off. Trying to stay awake to finish my prayers. And, like I said, I’ve been asking to find someone to disciple. And suddenly, this surge of ideas for the blog came up. I’m not kidding when I say have like a long list of topics to write about. It was just like God was telling me He has a plan for me, and here are some ways to execute that.

My birthday was a few weeks ago, and right before my birthday was when I announced I was taking a break. Well, then my dad purchased me a website domain. So just another sign from God.

So why are we really here? I wanted to explain and also talk about hearing God verses hearing Satan. I was in this really awesome ladies night in at church and the speaker was talking about this. She said,  if what you’re hearing is taking you away from God, it’s Satan. Drawing you nearer to Him is God. What a powerful statement. But what about when it gets complicated. Like with my break. I thought I was drawing nearer to God because I was journaling. And I have. But I feel like instagram/facebook is never enough space to truly say what I learned about the scripture.

What are you putting off that God is calling you to? Is He calling you to go to Africa and spread His word? Is He calling you to invite that cashier to our church? Is He calling you to finally tell your friend who doesn’t really believe, all the wonderful things you get to experience? Or maybe, you’re the person needing to accept Jesus. Maybe you have been sticking your toes in the water to see if it’s for you. Maybe, just maybe, you need to stop testing the waters and jump in. If you’re a non-believer- What if all of us “crazy christians” are right? What if you’re the one who is wrong? Are you comfortable with spending your eternity in agony? Are you comfortable with spending the rest of your days not searching for someone? Are you comfortable?

You follow me!

Hello everyone!

While things are still hectic, I’m going to stop pretending that I’m going to schedule these posts. Running a blog while trying to journal every day and taking care of an adorable and curious 6 month old is like trying to juggle eggs while balancing on a tight rope. But, I will be traveling to Kansas City soon to help out my in laws and hopefully will have some down time to really focus on the blog!

John 21:22

When you’re in a crowd of people and someone laughs, do you turn around to see if they’re laughing at you? Have you tried to change yourself to someone else’s mold?

Why? Peter asks Jesus what about him? And Jesus replies “If it’s my will that he stay,s what is that to you? You follow me!” [paraphrased]

Too often, as women, we find ourselves comparing and competing and not measuring up. Why do we do that? You compare yourself to Sally over there. And try to be just like Sally. Dress like her, talk like her, laugh like her, do everything like her. But, then, you see Lacy over in the other corner. And then you try to be like her. And go through the whole process again. God created you differently for a reason. He gives us each different gifts. Some people can sing like no one else while others can teach. If we were all the same, there would be no point. We all have different gifts and different traits because he made us all individually. So why would you waste the beauty that God developed you to be. He worked so incredibly hard on each one of us.

I have said before about how I never really fit in. I never really was like everyone else. I’ve always been unique and weird and loud. I was never a cool kid. So the comparison game hits me hard. All the time. When there are inside jokes, or things said but not explained, I get self conscious immediately. I always think “Oh, great. They are talking about me. I said something stupid. They are totally laughing at me.” In reality they could be laughing at the fact that their shoe has poop on it. I mean, seriously. It most likely has NOTHING to do with me. But, I have been so bullied, its like my first reaction. Always.

But Jesus wasn’t just talking to Peter. He’s talking to me. He’s talking to you. “So what of it? Why does that matter? You follow me! You focus on me! You want to be like ME. NOT HER. Stay in your own lane!”

Lets try and stay in our own LANE. Lets follow Jesus. Lets seek him fully. Lets focus on him.

Dear Lord, hear our prayers. Hear our needs. Help us to focus on you. To seek you only and stop comparing ourselves to everyone else. Let us wholeheartedly be yours. Empty us of this world and our own insecurities and fill us with you. Make us a vessel for your love and kindness and light. Be with everyone who happens upon this, and help it speak to them. Let them hear whatever they need from you. Let this stretch to whomever is seeking you and needing you. In your son’s name I pray, Amen.

Heavy sigh.

Hello!

Well, as if my last post didn’t describe my life at the moment, even more has happened.

So, my 6 month old son is not sleeping through the night. So I am tired literally all the time. So when I do have time, I spend it in my bible. But, I have planned out time to try and post twice a week. So, if you are reading, pray for intention and diligence in my blogs.

Quick update on life: Most of you know, because you are friends with me on Facebook or follow me on instagram, my brother was in a wreck this past weekend. He was with his roommate and girlfriend heading home. Within a mile of home, they were hit by an oncoming car turning at the intersection they were crossing. Going 40 mph. My brother, did not have his seat belt on. He always wears his seatbelt. This was the one time he did not. He could have been sitting in the middle, and went right through the windshield. Luckily, he was sitting behind the driver, his roommate, and ate the back of the seat instead. He has 20 facial stitches, a broken nose, a fractured upper jaw, and his two front teeth were ripped out by the root. He suffered from a concussion. And is currently experiencing short term memory loss. His girlfriend broke her pelvis and possibly broke or fractured her right foot. His roommate, who was driving, fractured a few ribs and had a laceration on his knee which needed 9 stitches. He is also struggling breathing. So it has been a long week to say the least. Please keep them all in prayers. Over all, things could have been so much worse for all three of them, and we are extremely thankful this is all it was.

So, to say the least, I have been overwhelmed with life. Its like I’ve been in the middle of the ocean and the waves just keep coming. Have you ever been swimming in the ocean and been hit by a huge wave? And just when you make your way up to the top, another one comes? That’s been my life. Just when I think I’m catching a second wind, something else happens. I get the energy to clean the house and do laundry. Then right in the middle of it, my son cries, or needs to be held or needs to be changed. Then it’s nap time. I plan to get caught up in nap time, but I think, “I should really nap too. I’m so tired.” I’m the queen of procrastination. It pretty much always wins. So even when I do put him down, fully intending on getting caught up, I watch an episode of grey’s instead. Or fixer upper, or one of my many other shows I am addicted to. And the result of that, is things get piled up, and I become overwhelmed because there is too much to handle.

There’s literally just too much. I have about 40 different things going on that need to be taken care of yesterday. So I just sit and become overwhelmed. I hate that. I hate that I am so easily overwhelmed. I’m naturally lazy. Very lazy. Very messy. Very, very messy. I hate cleaning. I hate laundry. I hate dishes. And then we end up living in this pit. I feel so terribly bad for my son. I try to use him as a motivation, but I end up just moving into another room and ignoring the issue.

I do this with my faith sometimes. I ignore the fact that I need to talk to the Lord, and that I need to ask for forgiveness and that I need to just let Him hold me. I put Him on the back burner. Until Sunday comes. And then wave after wave, His love covers me. And I just think stop coming to Him on Sundays. Stop coming to Him when you NEED something. Go to Him when you have everything to be thankful for. Go to Him when you need NOTHING. Go to Him when you are sitting there by yourself.

Thank you for bible journaling. Otherwise, I would have no desire to jump into His word. Journaling makes me EXCITED to get into the word. Find something He’s never shown me. Read a story for the 100th time and hear something completely new. I love journaling. I love it so much. But even the devil tries to attack that.

The devil is ALWAYS going to attack you when you become closer to the Lord. He is always going to attack you when you start climbing higher. When you start really getting to know God, the devil will attack. He wants God’s army to be smaller. Because he knows he’s already lost the fight. He wants to drag you down. He wants to kill every bit of light in your life.

Don’t let him. Don’t let him get to you. Shake him off and dive DEEPER. Dive into the Lord. Dive into the wonderful presence of God. Stop procrastinating your faith. Stop trying to ignore the simple fact that you NEED JESUS. We are not meant to do this alone. We are not meant to walk through this life by ourselves. We are not ABLE to do anything without God’s grace. We can’t. We are wired to LOVE Him, to FOLLOW Him, to grab His hand and be LED.

Let Him lead you.

Dear Lord, help all of us with our procrastination, with our doubt, with our feeling of being overwhelmed. Instead, empty us of us, and fill us with you. Fill us with your overwhelming love and grace and kindness. Let the only reason for being overwhelmed be because of you. Let us come to you when we need nothing. Let us come to you to be grateful. Let us come to you every day, every hour. Help me be intentional with this blog. Help me make time to reach those you need me to reach. In your son’s name I pray, Amen.

Wowza.

Well, I waited and waited for someone to tell me what they needed me to hear.

Literally no responses. So, okie dokie.

It’s only been four days. But I guess I’m just gonna do what I’ve been doing!

So the last few days, the last couple weeks really, have been hectic but really good! I’ve been able to spend more time with my family, friends and keep my head on straight.

I started a prayer box for my church! God really laid that on my heart last week. I felt like we were lacking some true prayer warriors. So I contacted the preachers wife, and talked to her about my ideas and she had been thinking about something similar! Last sunday after I introduced it, I got an overwhelming response! Just means that we truly needed it. I’m so happy I can help provide that. And so many ladies want to join me in praying for everyone! So excited for this new project!

I have been journaling still. Falling deeper into that. Truly loving it. I’m remembering verses better, there’s an overwhelming community out there! So I have tried to eliminate any and all drama and negativity in my life! I don’t have my personal instagram any more. I think I told y’all about that last week. So now, I just have my blog instagram. And the only people I follow are other christian women! Mostly other bible journalers. But only christian ladies who post positive and Godly things. I can tell you I’m not stressing about how I look or how I dress or how I eat or any of the other worldly things. The only thing I strive for now, is how to have a better relationship with Christ. I want to dive in deep. I want to learn more, read more, and be more like Christ.

I also downloaded a new app that everyone kept talking about. Its called First5. Its an amazing daily devotional app! They have hit it on spot every day for the last week! Which is when I started it. So they were probably still hitting it head on before that.

But alas, I felt like I needed to check in with you. I felt like it had been longer than 4 days since I last posted. But, it really wasn’t. So here are a couple of entries I’ve done since I last shared any of my journals!

I hope y’all have a stellar week. And if anything comes to mind on what you need from me, you can always contact me. But if not, I will just keep doing me. 🙂

What do you need?

600 views! May be small potatoes to some, but to me that’s so cool! Last month I had all of like 200 views. So that’s 400 just this month! So thank you to all who are reading, sharing and passing this along!

Today, I’m not gonna have a normal blog post. I want to reach out to you. I want you to ask me questions! What do you need to hear about? What do you have questions about? Your questions will help us both grow! Because the questions you have, I probably won’t have the answer so I will have to learn!

So ask me questions. What do you need to hear? Encouragement? Knowledge? Prayers? Let me know. I’m here for you! And I know people are reading this. So I would love to have input!

Email me or comment. Ask me on instagram. However you want to contact me, please do!

I hope you all are having a wonderful week!

Bible Journaling Process Video

Hello! Well, I was gonna do my super awesome page that I posted yesterday on instagram. But that failed. Hard. So I will try to do another process video. Because this one isn’t very fun! It’s boring. And at a funny angle. I learned A LOT in just making this one video!

But in case you’re curious how my process looks while I’m journaling here’s a super quick video! Just one minute! [Which is kind of frustrating because this took me an hour. And that’s not including where I had to stop the video to go feed my son who woke up!] But you’ll get the idea.

More tomorrow. But for now, I have got to stop staying up this late! See! I told you, I have to choose between sleep, husband time and the blog! But I’m super excited to get to post tomorrow! I have some exciting news! Keep posted 🙂

Proverbs 14-17

Hello! Well, this challenge was way more difficult than I imagined. Having quiet time to yourself with a 5 month old, a husband and living in your parent’s house is nearly impossible. The only time I can take for myself is late at night. After I’ve put my son to sleep. My husband works long hours, so I find myself choosing between spending time with him, sleeping or blogging/journaling. I have kept up with my reading missing a day here and there and catching up the next, blogging and journaling and keeping y’all informed is pretty hard.

My son is teething. So it’s like I have a newborn again, and he wakes up every few hours wanting to eat. And I am a sleeper. I like my sleep. Before I had my son, I could sleep in until like 2pm every day if I didn’t have a job. So, I like to sleep. And my husband works so much, that when he does get home, I like to talk to him about his day and catch up. And for the last 2 days, my in laws drove in from Kansas City, and so I’ve been spending time with them as well. So to say the least, this has been difficult!

So instead of sharing my last four days with you, I may just share one or two. I’m sorry! But, if all goes as planned, I will do a walk through of my bible, and show you all the wonderful entries I’ve done. I am trying to journal every day to keep myself in the word. Also very difficult. But, God comes first!

I also planned out my year and things I want to blog about. After the month of January, I will probably blog once or twice a week to keep myself present with my family. [If y’all have tips on how to balance journaling/reading the bible along with family time, let me know! I’m the worst at time management.]

So the first entry, is Matthew 27. Reading this entire chapter always brings tears to my eyes. Because God is so great and so loving, He sent His ONLY son to die for us. And reading about that death, just amazes me. He did this for us. For you and me, for your children and friends, for your parents and cousins. For us. He went through unbelievable pain just so we can be free and loved and forgiven. Wow. That’s amazing. I can’t imagine my own son going through pain who may or may not love him and follow his teachings. People who may never thank him for everything he did and for people to mock him and disobey him. Just so they can be forgiven. I don’t even want to picture or imagine the type of pain that must of brought God. Seeing his son go through everything he did. Next time you read this, imagine it being your own child. It brings an entirely different perspective on it.

And the second, is Luke 1:46-47. I love this verse. I pray that my soul continues to magnify the Lord! I want to praise and thank Him in all I do! This page did not turn out the way I wanted though. But like I’ve mentioned before, this is not for a pinterest-perfect bible journal. It’s not for you. It’s for me. And the Lord. I’m having to be adamant in trusting the Lord in every aspect of my life. I’m learning how to let go and give it to God. I feel like I’m constantly reminding myself that life happens in HIS time and not mine. I’m ready to do so many things in my personal life, and He’s reminding me, that I’m not ready yet! But now with instagram, and following positive Christian people has been super encouraging and thoroughly inspiring. So to remind myself that my spirit rejoices in God and my soul magnifies the Lord is important. I don’t want to get caught up in the little things. I want to see the big picture. And I hope that you are able to focus on that too!

I’ve been learning so many new techniques from the journalers I’m following! And they are all so inspirational! If you’re wanting to get more positive in your life, I highly suggest starting to follow other christians. Replace them with the celebrities in your feed. I find myself wanting to have a relationship with God like others rather than wanting to have a perfect body, a perfect bag and a perfect outfit or just a perfect life in general. Leaving my personal instragram and creating one for my blog alone has probably been the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

Dear Lord thank you for bring those to my blog. I hope they read this and read the scriptures and hear what you need them to hear. Thank you for everything you’re doing to move in my life. Keep me present in my walk with you. And keep those who may be feeling lost on your path. Remind them that you are taking care of them. And that you have a plan. In your son’s name I pray, amen.

Proverbs 13

Hey look! I did a post on the right day!!!

So once again, didn’t journal in Proverbs. I had my weekly meeting with the woman who is discipling me, Jenn. And today we went through John 8. And since then, this has just been echoing in my head.

John 8:32

Um. Sorry. This doesn’t just speak to me. It yells at me! Its inspires me. It encourages me. The truth will set you free! Can you believe that? FREE. I am a free spirit. I think anyone who knows me will agree with that. Always have been. Probably always will be. I just enjoy the feeling of freedom!

And if you’ve ever been set free of anything, you know this feeling. So just imagine being set free in general. Being set free in your life. Not having to think of anyone else. Just you. And God. And the relationship you have with Him. You don’t have to worry about the things of this world. Money, status, popularity. You are FREE of THIS WORLD. That sounds amazing. And just thinking about it, I get a big grin on my face. Because being free is all I’ve ever wanted.

And I have it.

In. Christ.

Email me if you have questions on how to be set free. Or share your wonderful feeling of being free!

Dear Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you for sending your son to set me free. I will take my freedom to glorify you. And I pray that everyone else takes their freedom and glorifies you. In whatever it may be, I hope they use it to your pleasure. I want to make you happy. I want to please you. I serve you. And help everyone else to take the leap to serve you. In your son’s name I pray, Amen.